Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kerosene, Sardines, Jim Beam and the Great Bettendorf Flood of 2008

Friday night I started piecing together the mottled and tragic history of the donor bike which had come into my possession. It had every conceivable chrome doo-dad that Harley Davidson ever devised installed on it. I removed them one by one, stacking them on the work bench, destined for the swap meet circuit. After pulling the gas tank and removing the petcock a foul stream of rust, old gas and what looked like a school of minnows and a crayfish spilled out onto the gravel lot behind the Monastery. Removed the air cleaner and found the filter plugged with vegetation. Perplexing.
I chugged some bourbon and NyQuil, scratched my head and pondered the history of this wretched orphan. I bought the bike on a used car lot, the guy knew only that it had a rebuilt title and was sold through an insurance company. The bike didn't look like it had ever been wrecked, so I was never sure what the story was.

The night wore on, the weed and kerosene burned and the bottle slowly drained. While dining on crackers and canned Dollar Store sardines, I looked down through the haze and noticed the inscription on the oil cap. It read, Weiblers Harley-Davidson Bettendorf Iowa. I vaguely remembered something about Bettendorf Iowa in the news. After a quick Google search, I had my eureka moment. There was a huge flood in Bettendorf in 2008. That's why this bike was sold by the insurance company, it had been drowned like a rat!

Sardines, Saltines, Kerosene and Jim Beam:

 Food to nourish the soul and open the mind to life's mysteries.


  1. Brilliant deduction Holmes, I suspect there's dirty work afoot, now Watson, pass the absynthe and the anchovies, all this laudanum's making me somewhat sleepy.

  2. Well, at least it didn't spend half a century at the bottom of a lake like a bike I saw at a blog recently...wonder how the bearings fared...?

  3. Something seems a little fishy about this entire post. Hmmmm.

  4. Yeah HL, I'm hoping to avoid getting into the motor.

  5. Bummer for sure!!! I've worked on several two wheeled subs, it's never fun. The hard parts usually clean up ok, it's the electrical gremlins that apparently live in moving and standing water that have offered the most opportunity for education.